B-to-B Cataloging: Catalog Nip & Tuck
Some of the most exciting layouts and page designs in the catalog industry are happening in B-to-B. And you’ll find them in some unlikely places. It used to be that B-to-B catalogs essentially were commodity lists of products. Today, however, the best B-to-B catalogs take all of the tricks used by their B-to-C counterparts and make them work harder.
Here are two quick tips to help you freshen your design and improve sales. The order of products in your catalog acts as either a welcome mat or a do-not-disturb sign to customers. For customers, the order process begins in two places — your front and back covers — and works its way toward the center of the book.
Place Best Sellers On Covers
Customers buy from you because of your products. They tell you what they’re looking for by their purchasing behavior. Listen to them, and place best-selling products on covers. Give them easy access to the products they want. Don’t paginate alphabetically, or waste valuable back-of-the-book pages with weak-selling product.
Try this trick for a rough draft of your product order. (You may want to shift one or two categories, but it’s likely the pagination you outline will be close to the pagination you use for your catalog.)
1. Begin pagination with your best-selling category.
2. Take your second strongest category and place it at the back of the catalog.
3. Place your third best-selling category after your first and fourth strongest category in the back of the book, just before your second.
4. Ping pong through until you’ve placed all categories.
Don’t mourn the loss of the benefit-driven headline.It’s not dead, yet. Just pick up the Hubert catalog. It sells display racks for retail stores and equipment for the food services industry. Every product in its catalogs has a benefit headline; its big book is 916 pages.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.